I am happy to present you guys with a guest post by my good friend, Monti. She’s a cooking virtuoso so we asked her to test drive the new Wii game from Food Network called Cook or Be Cooked. Now I just have to figure out a way to get her to stop playing long enough to cook me something with her new chef skills. Enjoy her review and make sure to enter our Cook or be Cooked contest.
Cook or Be Cooked is jumping into the niche that only the Wii seems to have opened up; the cooking video game. Wii is suited perfectly for this kind of game with it’s unique remote, in which the player can easily simulate stirring, chopping, turning and the other varieties of movement that one would find in cooking. I don’t believe someone playing the same game on the XBox would have near as much fun. This is actually the second cooking game I have; I absolutely love the eccentricity in Cooking Mama. Cook or Be Cooked will have some tough competition.
Cook or Be Cooked went for the more realistic angle, and it works. Not only do you have to create the recipe with correct seasoning and expert flipping, but you also get points for multi-tasking. For example, while waiting for your water to boil you have time to chop up the onion for the potato salad. You do have Food Network’s resident experts Mory Thomas and Susie Fogelson miniaturized and sitting on your counter to taste your food, but that’s the only nod to whimsy in the game. This approach also distinguishes it from Cooking Mama, which is out to catch the younger chefs.
Each new challenge gives you a menu with usually two dishes to create. As you start you have to quickly make a decision as to which dish you will start on first — usually the longer one — and then you have to make decisions with each step to insure that both your dishes will come out ready at the same time. It does NOT work to make each dish at once, you lose points and your dish gets cold and inedible. It’s the same kind of challenge a chef faces with every meal, and as I enjoy cooking, it was interesting to have that included in the game.
Compared to Cooking Mama, Cook or Be Cooked was a lot smoother in the movements it requested you make with the Wii remote. Easy to understand and easy to work, where Cooking Mama could break your arm off with the amount of stirring it demands of you. As with every Wii game, it does have a learning curve in figuring what movement works the best, but that may also be my own unfamiliarity with the Wii remote. It wasn’t hard to catch on, and the game was smart enough to up the challenge as you did catch on, so each new recipe was just a bit tougher.
A few things about the game were annoying. Mory Thomas and Susie Fogelson had some sort of story or adventure to share about every dish that was cooked, and frankly I didn’t care and mostly skipped by them with an obligatory eye roll. And with the learning curve, I did have to go over the first challenge twice, just to get the hang of things. Which was okay — what I didn’t like was having to listen to the same tips and hints with no way to skip past it. And once a dish was completed, it was awkward to have to go back to the starting menu instead of just moving ahead to the next challenge.
Overall, it was a catchy game and hard to put down once you started playing. The level of difficulty rose as you went from dish to dish, not greatly, but enough to make it challenging and fun. I would definitely recommend this game — I stayed up late to try to beat all the challenges, and will play it again in order to better my first scores.
You still haven’t entered our Wii contest? Come on!